Occasionally you come across a game that you wonder how it managed to get released in its current form. A Crash Bandicoot -nspired platformer where you control a T-Rex seems fine and dandy, until you actually start to play it and the wheels come off in spectacular fashion.
Right from the start you’re treated to the most basic of menus, something that wouldn’t seem out of place in a prototype. And as you’re flung into the world, you’re tasked with finding crystals in each level. The levels contain five crystals and meat which act in a similar way to coins in Mario games. Collecting 100 coins gives you an extra life. The issue, however, is that not much of it matters. The game makes it seem like it’s important you find all the crystals but really, it’s only the red rectangle one that matters because those are used to unlock the final boss in each area. Defeating the boss unlocks a new piece of equipment for your tiny T-Rex hands.
As I said before, the game is very much inspired by Crash Bandicoot – these are very linear levels for the most part complete with destructible crates. They even have stages where you’re running towards the screen. It’s just nowhere near as fun and is insanely frustrating instead. Aside from the basic visuals and presentation, the way your character (Borti the T-Rex) moves is slow, sluggish and at times barely responsive. It makes pinpoint platforming a chore, and couple that with the attacks that only work sporadically and you have a recipe for a disastrous time.
You can jump on enemies sometimes to kill them or swing your arms or whatever attachment you’ve unlocked. However, this only works half the time. Animations are barely existent so it’s hard to tell if you’ve killed them until they disappear and because of the atrocious collision detection, a lot of the time your attacks seem to go through them. There’s also no sound effect of them being hit, so it’s really easy to think you’ve killed something when you haven’t, and then get hurt. And seeing as you can only take one hit before its back to the checkpoint, it soon becomes tiresome.
During my most recent play session, I turned it off in disgust when after some precision platforming I jumped down and fell through the ground. Your character doesn’t even fall off the screen, he just lands in mid-air and collapses on an invisible floor. That sort of laziness is the overall takeaway from my time with Tiny Hands Adventure.
I could just list the rest of the problems I had with Tiny Hands Adventure. There are the cheap boss battles complete with dreadful framerate (one time the game even crashed); the latency of the jump button; the way certain foreground objects obscure enemies; scattering the levels with crates and only having some of them be breakable… and did I mention how bad it all looks? None more so than the story cutscenes that play out with a floating woman and text all over the screen that just give the screen a messy and busy look. It’s horrendous.
Some people may say that this is meant for children, and you are completely right. The story and dialogue are completely fitting for a small child, however, being a youngster doesn’t mean you should be subjected to games of this low quality. And the frustrating difficulty means I doubt an age-appropriate person would be able to make it very far in the game.
If you are unclear so far then the answer is no, no I do not recommend you buy or even entertain the idea of purchasing this product. Nintendo recently said they hope to release around 20-30 indie titles a week on Switch and that’s a terrifying prospect if it means this sort of stuff will be more and more frequent. Avoid.